Tag Archive: gyhooya


A few days ago i posted a link to an article titled, ‘Why Jesus wants you to stop spanking your kids’ followed by a link to this article, ‘When Violence hits home: “Sparing the rod”, spanking and peaceful parenting,’ which seemed to give a more cultural explanation of what the rod might be referring to [in the bible passage all the ‘hit your kids’ people rush to use in their defence].

My friend Leanne shared them on her page and the whole thing exploded with a variety of people jumping on with a diversity of strongly-held approaches to the topic of disciplining your child [with half of them advocating why that was okay to do with a stick, belt, spoon…]

Another friend, John Eliastam, agreed to take some time to share some of his thoughts which his did on his greatly named blog, The Dead Pastor’s Society, under the title, ‘More on “the rod”‘, which you can and should read over here, because it was great and super helpful. Not simply on the topic of hitting your kids [although it deals with that] but more largely on the topic of reading and understanding and knowing the bible in a way that is helpful and more true. i am hoping John will write a piece for my blog on that.

But that is not what really sparked for me in that conversation. Rather it was the amount of people responding and the time put into the responses which included a whole bunch of ‘read more’ tabs to click if you wanted to see all the many paragraphs of conversation people had for that topic. This was a topic people really were invested in.

I shared this quote as my status around the same time: ‘The poor don’t need soup or shoes. They need a place at your table for the next 20 years.’ [from my friend Portal Pete]

Two shares, couple of likes and a few comments. Did not need to ‘Read More’ on any of the comments.

major

In fact, if i was a being from another planet and observing the life and beliefs and attentions of people who call themselves christians, there is a huge chance i would be able to reach the conclusion that being a part of the church was mostly about defending the sanctity of spanking and hating “the gays”, or at least stopping them from committing “their agenda” or taking us over and making us all like them [or something].

And bigger and better church buildings and more expensive music equipment of course.

Is a conversation on how best to discipline your children important and worth having? Absolutely.

Is engagement with the LGBT community and seeking both God’s response [which above all, is ALWAYS going to first and foremost be love by the way] and ours an important and necessary thing? Of course.

But with a bible and christian handbook with less than ten references to disciplining your children and homosexuality and OVER TWO THOUSAND references to how we should be relating to THE POOR, is it possible that we have perhaps missed the point a little by spending so much attention and focus and strong opinion on the things that God seems to be spending less time on? And refusing to absolutely embrace and incorporate into our lifestyles the very things He seems to indicate are the most important.

scales

i remember when i was in Americaland following some of the story of a local pastor here in Cape Town, who launched a whole campaign trying to unite the local church congregations across Cape Town to rally together against ‘the evil of the government’ trying to make it illegal for parents to hit their children. That really made me very sad. Not because it is necessarily a bad thing to get behind your beliefs and do what you can to defend them where necessary.

BUT…

i’m not sure i have seen the same kind of passion and drive in action when it comes to the poor living among us, to the lines and lines of shacks you drive past on a trip to or from the airport, the homelessness issues we have in and around our city, the huge problem with children who are growing up without families.

Imagine that pastor took all his time and energy and resources and instead of campaigning for the right to hit his children, convinced his congregation to consider adoption as valid a form of parenting as raising a child who is biologically yours? Do those really seem like equal-of-importance things?

sheepgoat

“Jesus, what is the greatest commandment?” – Love God [with all your heart, soul, strength, mind] and Love your neighbour as yourself.

“Jesus, who is my neighbour” – responds with the story of the Good Samaritan which is about a man on a journey who comes across a man in great need and helps him to the point of it being of great cost to himself [time, money, resources]

‘If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be that person?’ [1 John 3:17]

‘Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?’ James 2:15-16

‘Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.’ [Isaiah 1:17]

’41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”’ [Matthew 25]

… and about 1996 more or so…

Church, it is long overdue for us to stop majoring in the minors [that doesn’t mean the minor things are not important and should not be focused on – it does mean they might be less important and require less of our time, money and engagement] and to start giving more emphasis to the things Jesus [and the whole bible] seemed to indicate were a bigger deal. Being known by the love we have for one another for starters. Looking after the least of these. Engaging with those who are not like us and who the rest of the world might not be super amped to spend time with.

Discuss. [but first GYHOOYA].

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GYHOOYA

i don’t particularly like using the word ‘ass’ – in fact i tend to avoid it.

but there is one time when it feels completely appropriate and it is linked to an acronym i came up with a few years ago when i was still in Stellenbosch

it is the acronym GYHOOYA and it stands for ‘Get Your Head Out Of Your Ass’ as so beautifully illustrated by the creepy pic at the top

i know, i know, the older generation and the more polite and elegant and self-righteous tut their tuts and shake their heads and make you-should-know-better noises at me…

but i REALLY like it, almost as much as i like the word CRAP. and for the very same reason.

it just says exactly what is sometimes needing to be said. you can say something is ‘rubbish’ or ‘junk’ or anything like that, but the word ‘crap’ actually much more perfectly describes the thing.

and you can rarely face-to-face or even on social media tell someone to get their head out of their ass, but you can quietly say, “GYHOOYA” [pronounced Gie-Who-Yah] and smile knowingly to yourself.

HASHTAGTIVISM

although i think the world is about ready for it, so maybe you can join with me in finding the times and place and people where a directed GYHOOYA would be the appropriate thing to say.

# people [especially men] who don’t understand what ‘Rape Culture’ is or who refuse to engage in healthy conversations around it.

# people [especially white people] who don’t understand what ‘White Privilege’ really means and refuse to engage with it and learn from those who are speaking about it.

# people who think being the church is only about attending a meeting at a specific place on a specific day

# Westboro Baptist ‘Church’ and anyone else who calls themselves Christian and refuses to act in love

# people who start sentences with the words, “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic but…”

And more i’m sure – just every now and then something happens and someone responds in the most ridiculous of ways and deserves their very own GYHOOYA.

What about you? Who would you add to the list of people who need to receive a GYHOOYA? 

 

 

racemlk

So i have spent the last two days in particular reading a WHOLE LOT OF POSTS on aspects of White Privilege and Race and in particular posts related to the Ferguson incidents in Americaland.

This has been the most research i have done into any topic for a long time and i am not sure ‘enjoyed’ is the right word but ‘appreciated’ definitely. In fact, it has NOT been easy reading but so so necessary and i just wish all my white friends in particular would make the time to take some of these in.

A lot of the research was because i have been wanting to write a piece on White Privilege for a while now, which i finally got around to over here. People are reading it and more importantly SHARING it around and i am hoping that more people will ENGAGE IN THE COMMENTS SECTION and help make this into a conversation.

As i started reading some really amazing posts i realised i needed to share some of them and so i stuck a whole lot of them over here. It is incredible how some of the posts can have such a different angle or perspective and yet be so valuable. From using analogies like riding a bicycle on streets designed for cars, to writing from the perspective of being a parent of either white children or black children, to many more i was being challenged and encouraged and shaken in so many different ways.

And as i sat down to work through a few more today i realised [after adding a post to yesterday’s list] that there were just too many good conversations to lump them all into one email as they are going to no doubt get lost. But THESE ARE SUCH IMPORTANT THINGS and so, if even just for one day, please put down your five minute attention span tendencies and really spend some time digging into these things. IF YOU ARE  A WHITE PERSON, these are things you need to know. You might not feel like they are necessary or important or even relevant, and if that is the case then you more than others really need to GYHOOYA [Get Your Head Out Of Your… Yes!] and start paying attention. This is for you and it is about you. You need to listen up. MY friends of colour – these posts are not news for you, but i can also use your help in writing some others to share these things from your perspective [brettfish@hotmail.com]

So here are a few more that i REALLY feel are worth reading, and while the events may be specifically focuses on Americaland because of the whole Ferguson incident, they are very much relevant to conversations that need to be taking place right here in South Africa.

Austin Channing Brown wrote what was probably the hardest piece i have read because of how much truth it contains and how sad and ashamed that makes me of white people and the church in so many ways, in this piece titled ‘Black Bodies White Souls’

Sarah Bessey who is a Canadian write whose work i generally really admire, held her breath and her voice and waited and watched and then eventually couldn’t any more and wrote this piece titled, ‘In which I have a few things to tell you about #Ferguson’, which was one of the pieces i read which affected me the most emotionally. And is much needed.

This piece by Rev. Erica Liu which is part of a preach on Romans 16 took the whole conversation from a completely different angle and related it to the ‘Road to Emmaus’ conversation of an unrecognised Jesus talking to two followers and turns the whole thing on its head. ‘What Romans 16 has to do with Ferguson, MO – Listening to the Voices of the Stranger’ is a brilliant offering in that it goes beyond the incident at hand and invites us to be aware of who we invite to sit and speak at our tables.

And lastly, this powerful and informative piece, ‘Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person’ by Gina Crosley-Corcoran, helps dig a little deeper in terms of challenging the myth that this is simply an economic issue.

You would do well to read and pay attention to any one of those.

You would do even better to really put some time aside and work your way through all of them, share them with your friends and start some conversations on your thoughts and what kind of action they might lead you to do.

So much great writing by so many incredible people on a topic that is hard and should be affecting so many more of us than it has.

It will be so great when ‘Race’ as a topic can be removed from the Taboo Topics section on my blog, but it has become painfully obvious that it deserves to rest there for the moment.

[For my post asking the question, ‘Where are the other White men speaking about this?, click here]

[For other questions, issues and aspects of race-related things on this blog, click here]

racenelson

i really enjoyed enGAGE (our sun evening congregation) tonite

i was away for two days this week so didn’t do my traditional thursday morning sermon prep and so yesterday (sat) i put some stuff together and it felt decent, but when i was looking over it today it suddenly clicked into place and i really felt super amped about it

and then when i was preaching tonite i just had a sense of God telling me not to hold back but to preach the powerful word powerfully

[a glimpse into the context of this is that the first sunday of this term about a month ago we had our biggest enGAGE meeting of the year – 40 something people, yeah tough year – and i challenged the okes on commitment as i was going to be looking at reaching out into the community and wanted to get some continuity from week to week – anyways next week we had 15 people, then 12, then 20-something, so not really sure what’s with the numbers – been having great times together, just few people been coming]

anyways i just really felt God saying i needed to preach His truth and not worry if people left because of it or cos i knew there were people in the congregation who wouldn’t be particularly amped to hear what i had to say…

and i did. and it wasn’t a particularly revolutionary message except in the fact that it was completely revolutionary

has felt for a while like the general population of enGAGE and maybe beyond enGAGE as well are in a bit of a ‘bleargh’ place in terms of life and God and just a bunch of apathy with regards to getting themselves out of it or being proactive at all – just kind of happy to stay in that space…

and the message in a nutshell was about the kingdom of God colliding with your life, and about the need for people to GYHOOYA (get your head out of your…), about God wanting your most precious thing (abraham’s isaac, the rich young man’s money/stuff), the response of Job (1.22) and David (after bathsheba son death as a result of his sin) to God in worship and the woman caught in sin to live worshipfully…

with the bottom line being that it is not all about you – it is ALL ABOUT GOD!

the point is – you can’t do it! the point is – you have nothing to give! and the point is that we have to die (john 12.23-24) to be of any use – we have to deny ourself and take up our cross and follow Him (luke 9.23-26) – that God chooses to use the weak and foolish (1 cor 1.26-31) to bring about His kingdom

and that when you are bleargh and apathetic and a little overwhelmed with life, then you need to read hebrews 12 (all of it) and verse 12 which says ‘strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees’ followed by ‘ make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.’

[and i’m not sure i understand what the writer was intending with that second verse cos it looks like part of it is a quote, but the way i understand it is that you need to make a level path for your feet – if the level path was made for the lame person it wouldn’t help cos they are still lame – so that you are able to get to them and bring healing to them]

and then verse 25 (in the context of really go and read the whole chapter) – SEE TO IT THAT YOU DO NOT REFUSE HIM WHO SPEAKS – powerful, powerful phrase… and it finishes off with 28 which says, ‘Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

i read and use hebrews 12.1-3 a lot and think that i have missed this end bit so much because of that, getting stuck in the beginning – which itself is incredible stuff – but this is a warning from God (coupled with warnings in matthew 7 – Lord, Lord, did i not do all this stuff in Your name? – and Revelation 3 – because you are neither hot nor cold I am going to spit you out – and a variety of other places

but finally, in and thru all of this, it is God who does the stuff – you’re weak? you’re unable? you’re bleargh? you’re apathetic? you’re overwhelmed? it is GOD who does it all – you just have to turn to Him – and…

‘Did you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.’

[isaiah 40.28-31]

see to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks…

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